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When Healing Becomes Educating, Vol. 2 - Waldorf Research Institute

When Healing Becomes Educating, Vol. 2 - Waldorf Research Institute

another, the chin, the

another, the chin, the hands. One tries to re-experience the voice, whether it is low-pitched, whether it is modulated, whether it comes out or stays inside. It is particularly these precise, easily observable data that are used for this constructive activity in the evening. As the days go by the image becomes clearer and more intense. After, for example, four days one tries, once the image has been constructed, to let it gradually fade without allowing other image-contents to intrude into the mind. And then one listens to the mood that is there. This mood can be a feeling: heaviness, purity, doubt. It can also have a touch of pictorial quality: yellowness, angularity, etc. The following day one can repeat the same procedure. The last two days one listens as the whole patient with all his phenomena is again built up and then fades away, to see whether a new image takes its place. One must be open-minded during all this and not push aside the images that appear but accept them as true, even if one does not yet understand them. Teachers have far less difficulty in doing this than therapists do and bring to it a heal thy naïveté. We tell each other these moods and images at the meeting a week later. I still remember vividly the first time that this method of work ing was used in connection with the observation of nature over successive days. There was some diffidence on the part of the participants at the begin ning. Finally someone plucked up the courage to take the first step. And while he was talking an expression of surprise could be seen to appear on some of the faces; they sat up and could hardly wait to speak themselves. The first said, “You’ve told my image” and the second, “I have a follow-up on that.” Very often the images seem to overlap to a great extent. How does this come about? Observation is an active occupation; it is a movement of the will. The will is actively involved in the outward gaze and arrives at what is being observed. It really is of decisive importance how the will-directed soul inter acts with what is being observed. Whether it gets pleasurably involved in what it is doing and seeks out the things that it likes and whether it withdraws to a distance while looking and passes judgment. Or whether it conforms and is obedient, unselfish and chaste. Goethe spoke of the Nachahmungstrieb (urge to imitate). The power that a small child has, before it is shackled by memories or a capacity for making judgments. If this surrender of the will comes to life (and one can acquire it by prac tice), it will eventually happen that our will does not act but is acted upon, so that what is observed directs our will (just as our eardrums are acted upon). And then comes the movement of the mind that arises in us very close to the creative movement made by what we observe. And then the mood that we have after the image has faded away is the first expression, the 34

still dreamy experience of the movement that has been awakened in us. This same movement then creates in us the new image that we get. Al though we make this image so far as the substance is concerned ourselves (from the data that have come to us in the course of the biography), the ar rangement of it and the selection of the substance can to an important extent come from the observation. Let me mention a few images from a consultation with a young female patient. Someone sees a beach, the water gradually withdraws, then there is a place that moves up and down and finally disappears under the sand. A second person sees a hippopotamus and their attention is drawn to its foot with its armour-clad plates. The third has a heavy sensation that finally con denses into the image of a tortoise. This was one category, one group of im ages. A second category: a stall in a market-place with brilliant yellow lemons. A portrait of the girl in the style of Van Gogh with a hard yellow as background. A black castle without moat or vegetation in a yellow desert. The next thing is to read these images. And it then turns out that you must have ideas. Observation without thought is in any case impossible. Without mental images observation is blind. In his anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner has given many anthroposophical images, typologies, and it can happen that the observational images draw forth one such typology as a magnet attracts iron. One of the most fruitful Gestalt-ideas of Rudolf Steiner is the conception of the threefoldness of man. In the case of this girl the im ages spoke very clearly in the direction of the hardening, stiffening nerve- and sense-organ processes, of the pressing upon the foreground of the desiccating yellow. And this provides the start of a dynamic diagnosis of the relation of the sheaths of man. So much for experiences with diagnosis and imagination. A diagnosis is in itself something detached. It is a judgment that is being made. But in the judgment a strong inner force can be awakened: the force of astonishment, of “Staunen.” Of the exceptional, superb fact that someone has such a long neck or lives so exclusively in the middle sphere. But then comes the second step that can redeem the judgment. Empathy, objective compassion with the patient. To be able to feel what it would be like to have such a long neck or to be almost unable to move with rheumatism. And then you go on to experience what someone has taken upon himself by putting on such a jacket for this incarnation. For someone’s illness or constitu tion is not the person himself but is the envelope, the jacket that he has put on. You can achieve a deep respect for the higher being of the patient if you experience in this way, by empathy and compassion, the task he has set himself. And then comes the third inner movement. That one says yes to 35

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